RYE, N.Y. Andrew Aquilino spoke with confidence and enthusiasm when discussing the outlook for 2012 Rye Garnet varsity football team, even with the graduation of 24 seniors.
We think we reloaded pretty well, said the 6-foot-3, 275-pound Aquilino, who will start at tackle on offense and defense. We have a lot of young guys who are stepping up, and they know what theyre doing.
This years team has only 12 seniors, but the depth and talent of the underclassmen will make the Garnets a Class A contender once again.
Aquilino said the new players are quick learners and are asking questions.
I am impressed with how hard they are working, Aquilino said of his new teammates. They know they can start or are going to start. This has made practice intense. If some guys are working harder than others, then they know they have to step it up.
Aquilino is a captain, along with classmates Jimmy Duan and Neil Parrello, and sophomore Andrew Livingston, who returns at quarterback. Juniors Chris Santangelo and Connor Murphy also return.
Rye is hoping to reverse its start to the 2011 season, when the Garnets lost their first three games. From the fourth game on, Rye was in a must-win situation to qualify for the playoffs. Rye closed out with four consecutive wins, including a victory over archrival Harrison in The Game.
I definitely think the strong finish we had has carried over into this year, Aquilino said. After we lost our first three games last year, we knew we had to work hard and that it was not going to be easy, in order for us to make the playoffs.
Aquilino noted that once the 2011 season concluded, Rye went right to work on preparation for this season. The team spent much of the offseason working on a program developed by Ryes trainer, Matt Tauber.
We did an hour and a half of weightlifting and an hour and a half of running, Aquilino said. A lot of the guys did it, because we felt we needed to get bigger and stronger for this year.
Rye goes to Pearl River on Saturday, Sept. 8, for its opener. Rye defeated Pearl River in a first-round playoff game last year.
I am excited to see what we will do this season, Aquilino said. We are going to be a good team.
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